Spring is always an exciting time. All the big companies reveal their upcoming season, filling us with anticipation for the year to come. This year, the Grands Ballets’ season launch goes beyond the usual excitement of revealing the shows that will fill our cultural calendars for 2016-2017. They have not one, not two, but a whole slew of news and events that really up the ante. Tuesday night at the Theatre Maisonneuve dancers, fans, and media all gathered to finally get the answers to our burning questions: what shows can we look forward to? When will the Wilder building be ready? And, the real nail biter, who will be appointed as the new artistic director?
Dance has seen a revival since the turn of the millenium with reality shows and commercial stars (Maddie Ziegler, anyone?) putting dance on the front pages of popular media. Not everyone is interested in being a commercial or so-called studio dancer though in order to reach the masses. In comes Ballet Ouest, founded in 1984 as a non-profit ballet company based in Montreal’s West Island. Though this company has been around for several decades, since 2010 it has really pushed its presence as an accessible, professional ballet company with the onset of Claude Caron as Artistic Director. Last week they celebrated Valentine’s day with Couples, a series of vignettes where duos explore love in its many expressions.
Around the world at Christmas time there is one tradition that brings to life the magic of the season, lighting up the imaginations of audiences for over 100 years. The Nutcracker, in its many versions, is a timeless classic adored by young and old. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal have been presenting their Nutcracker with choreography by Fernand Nault since 1964, the longest running show of its kind in Canada, bringing joy and festive spirit to over 200 000 show goers. It is no small feat to put on this production every season, but year after year dancers take on the familiar roles with renewed excitement. The sparkle of The Nutcracker never fades and this year showed no exception.